Because of incorrect information from the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, Thursday's District Weekly incorrectly reported the length of terms for school board members elected in November. The members elected to the two at-large and Ward 3 seats will serve three-year terms and those elected from Wards 2 and 8 will serve five-year terms.
Ask most Fairfax County politicians about the last time they drew up new election districts and you are likely to elicit a groan.
The 1981 redistricting -- mandated by imbalances in the county's districts that were reflected in new census figures -- has achieved a certain notoriety in Fairfax among bureaucrats and supervisors who recall the secret meetings, shuttle diplomacy between supervisors' offices, creative map-drawing, precinct-trading and anxiety that marked the process.
"It was quite a traumatic experience," said Jane Vittray, the county registrar. "Everybody has their own ideas about how the lines should be drawn."
"I don't know that anybody's eager to do it again at all," said Supervisor Thomas M. Davis III, a Republican who represents Mason District. "I just as soon that they leave me alone."
At first blush, then, it might seem unlikely that the County Board would want to redraw its district boundaries again. By law, the board would be required to do so only in 1991, after the next census is taken.
But politically savvy observers in the county caution that two factors should not be overlooked.
First, population growth in the booming county is badly skewed. The once-rural western districts of Centreville and Springfield have become the fastest growing areas in the 1980s. Sprawling Springfield, which stretches from Dulles International Airport in the west to Shirley Highway (I-95) in the east, is the county's most populous district with 103,743 people. By contrast, Lee District, just south of Alexandria and containing some of the county's oldest subdivisions, has 70,192.
The gap between crowded and sparse districts could produce a groundswell of public pressure for redistricting, county officials agree -- particularly in the more highly populated districts where the one-man, one-vote principle is abridged.
Second, the county GOP, for the first time since the Civil War, holds a five-member majority on the nine-member County Board. Republican supervisors acknowledge that it would behoove them to initiate another redistricting before the 1987 County Board elections.
"I don't think the Democrats even want to bring the subject up," said Nancy K. Falck, a Republican supervisor who represents Dranesville, the northernmost district in the county.
Citizen groups, including the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations and the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area, say they are considering the issue.
Although the federation has taken no official stand, its president, Thomas B. White Jr., said, "You've got to be against motherhood to oppose redistricting when something like this skewed population growth happens. I'd like to see them throw out what they have now and start from scratch."
White is not the only one who finds the existing map of the county's magisterial districts confusing. Previous redistricting has taken most of Springfield out of the Springfield District (it's now in Lee District); most of Annandale out of Annandale District (it's in Mason District), and all of Centreville out of Centreville District (it's in Springfield District).
The county's overall population is about 670,000. With eight magisterial districts represented equally, each should have about 83,000 people.
In fact, just two of the existing districts, Dranesville and Providence, come close to that figure. In the extreme case, Springfield's 103,743 citizens are represented by the same single vote on the County Board as Lee District's 70,192 citizens.
Although no member of the County Board seems eager to raise the topic before 1986 at the earliest, speculation is under way over who would fare well or poorly in a redrawing of the map.
"I'd rather see it done after the elections in 1987," said Supervisor Joseph Alexander (D-Lee). "It just depends whose ox would be gored."
"Getting the underpopulated eastern districts to be larger without treading on western toes is the problem," Falck said.